Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I took a deep breath and printed out those pics of myself and drew four lines across the full-frontal one, as instructed by Herzog: shoulder, bust, waist, and hip. Interesting. The top three lines are virtually identical in length, the fourth is distinctly longer. So I’ve learned something. I had thought that my shape in old age was a three-dimensional rectangle – I’ve just looked it up, and learn that there is no easy word for it, like “sphere” or “pyramid”. A rectangular cuboid, shall we call it.

But anyway, it turns out that’s not how I’m shaped at all.

I had expected the next lesson to go on to the taking of specific measurements, but I’ve just watched and it’s more theoretical – a discussion of which elements of the clothes we wear lengthen or shorten, widen or narrow, the visual impression of various bits of oneself. What if it turns out that the Relax is utterly wrong for my elderly shape?

I have become a tremendous Craftsy fan. I have my eye on a new one, by a teacher I don’t know, about buttonholes and button bands. I knit a cashmere cardigan for my sister once, and when I got to the button band, Knitter’s or IK had just come out with an interesting article on the subject.

I took a lot of trouble over it. I used a pattern, from the article, in which eyelet holes occurred at regular intervals so that the actual placing of the buttons could wait until later. And I slightly and carefully stretched it, all that stuff.

But then there was an occasion – I think it was the evening you and James came to supper, Janis, but memory may be conflating separate events – when my sister was wearing it and I couldn’t help noticing that the button bands were turning inwards.

And Craftsy has lots more. Brioche; Lucy Neatby on double knitting.

Thank you for the tips, by the way, about viewing Craftsy lessons on the iPad. I tried what you said while we were away, and found that I need to update the operating system.  I’ve run into this problem before. It’s Archie’s job the next time he’s here.

The socks are coming on fine. I’m not in a hurry now, because I want to get far enough forward with Herzog to know what I’m doing before I cast on the new Relax for myself.

Don’t miss Liz Lovick on St Kilda.


An old friend came to see us yesterday. We had not seen him for 40 years. He used to live in our garage, in Birmingham. The garage had once been a stable – there was still a manger, in a corner – and above it was accommodation, I suppose you could call it, for a groom.

When Geoffrey first came to Birmingham he was young and poor, a research student in Byzantine studies, and his professor somehow knew about our garage so that is where he lodged that first winter. We have kept up with Christmas cards since. Our children remember him with delight. Geoffrey! Coming to tea!

We didn’t recognise him. When a man turned up at the appointed time, I hugged him with enthusiasm. But no recognition came, even after a couple of hours of talk. It was certainly Geoffrey – he recalled seeing the pussy cats swimming in Lake Van, and he is the only man I have ever known who actually claims to have seen that. But no recognition.

How often does one pass significant old friends in the street, unknown?


  1. Anonymous8:44 AM

    This year will be the 50-year class reunion of my high school class. I'm not making the long drive to the Midwest for it because I haven't seen my classmates in all these years. One or two have pictures up on Facebook, and I would not be able to pick them out in a crowd...virtual strangers. I totally understand your experience with Geoffrey.

  2. I avoid school reunions for the same reason - once recently accosted in the street by someone I thought was a total stranger. He said he had been to school with me - but I can't remember him at all. He was, I am sure, genuine because of people and events he mentioned but I would have passed him by. It is also one reason why I will also ignore the plea from one of my old universities to help organise a reunion!

  3. It's an odd thing memory. My husband hasn't recognised the young me for years - in our wedding photos for example. I, of course, still imagine I look like that until I look in the mirror! There was a programme on memory presented by Maureen Lipman on BBC last week (still available on iPlayer). She went back to meet her class mates after about fifty years and they all seemed to remember each other (for the camera anyway). It was not all lightweight. There was some interesting discussion with doctors and neuroscientists. The reality of Alzheimer's disease is brought home forcefully when they compare a slice of a normal brain with one of an Alzheimer's sufferer.

    Having signed on for the Brioche (free) and Lucy Neatby (half price) and then not had time to work through either of them, I have resisted any more classes on Craftsy. Both techniques are ones which I would like to master at some point.

    I don't know what Ann Hanson is like as a teacher but she designs beautiful patterns.

  4. You will not be disappointed by Ann Hanson. She is not only a talented designer but a also a very effective teacher.

  5. Ruth in Ontario, Canada2:03 PM

    I can corroborate that, having taken a class with Anne in person. She's an excellent teacher (and a lovely person, as well).

  6. the photos on the post about St Kilda are fascinating... indeed the text too.

    what a life to be on those tiny islands with nothing to do but chores and knitting and well, dealing with Mother Nature!

  7. Anonymous5:21 PM

    On the other hand, a friend's grandmother once told us of being recognized by someone she hadn't seen for sixty years, when they both were schoolgirls. The recognition was mutual, too - my friend's gm wasn't embarrassed by an apparent stranger claiming her as an old acquaintance. Some people just look the same over the years, I suppose; white-haired and wrinkled, perhaps, but the same somehow unmistakeable features.
    -- stashdragon

  8. I signed up for a Craftsy class on fit when they first began and was underwhelmed. But I gave it another chance with the Lucy Neatby double knit class and have been quite pleased. I grabbed a tatting class on sale the other day and on hearing your reccomendations, I've added the Herzog class to my wish list. One thing I've noticed is that unless you have an urgent need, wait, they have lots of sale opportunites.

  9. I am constantly being recognised by complete strangers. I will be walking along the street and some hulking chap with a beard will greet me like a long lost friend, not realising that he is changed utterly from the young teenager who was once in my class. I often spend whole days trying to reconstruct the class, usually around one or two unforgettable individuals.

  10. =Tamar7:35 PM

    Facial recognition is a complex thing. My mother and I each tend to be "recognized" by people who really don't know us. We seem to have the Standard Face or something like that, even though we don't actually look that much alike. On the other hand, a friend once insisted that I had snubbed her in a distant city that I hadn't been in for ten years. I am about average at picking people I know out of old photographs, but I am not good at comparing sets of old photos and trying to correlate people I never knew in person.

    1. I frequently have that same experience. In fact, I've been approached in a restaurant, called a name not my own, and asked if I was still working at a place I've never heard of.

      I keep looking for those people who look "just like me" but I haven't seen one yet...'cept maybe my sister.

  11. Sarah JS8:30 PM

    I've been a (mostly silent) member of Amy's "Fit to Flatter" Ravelry group since just about the beginning. I think Amy would say that if you knit the Relax sweater and love wearing it, that's all to the good. Her information is more about giving you information about what shapes tend to look good on Your Shape ... but not to put the kibosh on any specific item; particularly if you love wearing it.

    As for reunions and such, just got off the phone with my dad who has just made plans to go to his 60th Oberlin reunion in a month. He's quite tickled.